Tag Archives: homosexuality

MTSU Poll: Most favor some abortion restrictions, oppose gay marriage and gas tax hike

News release from Middle Tennessee State University:
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Tennesseans favor some, but not all, of several proposed abortion rules pending in the state Legislature, the latest MTSU Poll finds.

On two other issues, meanwhile, the Jan. 25-27 poll of 600 randomly selected Tennessee adults found majority opposition to permitting same-sex marriage and to increasing Tennessee’s tax on gasoline.

Ken Blake, director of the poll at Middle Tennessee State University, said attitudes toward abortion regulation in Tennessee appear nuanced and strongly tied to religious identity. The poll’s margin of error is 4 percentage points.

“Across every form of abortion regulation we asked about in the poll, the proportion in favor of it came in more than 10 percentage points higher among evangelical Christians than among non-evangelicals,” Blake said.

“But both groups have reservations about the same things. For example, evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike are less likely to favor describing an ultrasound image to a woman who has refused to look at it than to favor requiring her doctor to talk to her about abortion risks, benefits and alternatives.”
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U.S. Supreme Court agrees to rule on same-sex marriage ban in TN, other states

News release from state attorney general’s office:
Today the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Tanco v. Haslam (same-sex marriage), and consolidated the four petitions from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee. The court agreed to address the following two questions: (1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? and (2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

“We asked that the court let the Sixth Circuit decision stand; however, we respect the court’s decision to grant review. We will follow the court’s briefing and argument schedule and continue to aggressively represent the state’s interest as we have throughout the process,” Attorney General Slatery said.

The AP story is below:
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Same-sex Couples Seek TN Marriage License With Lawsuit in Mind

Same-sex couples in at least three Tennessee counties tried to get marriage licenses Wednesday, striding into county clerks’ offices, their faces lit up by camera flashes as they made state history, reports The Tennessean.

But because same-sex marriage is illegal in Tennessee, they left empty-handed.

Will Peyton and Jef Laudieri of Nashville said they weren’t surprised by the rejection, just at how much it hurt…. They hope to be part of a lawsuit that could force Tennessee to allow their future marriage, similar to suits recently filed in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

Before the Davidson County Clerk’s office opened Wednesday, Peyton and Laudieri met up with Nina Pacent and Renee Kasman, a Bellevue couple legally married in June in White Plains, N.Y.

Within minutes, the group was in front of Tara Marks’ desk inside the county clerk’s office, being read to in a trembling voice from a manual prepared for this occasion.
“Tennessee statute prohibits marriage between two people of the same sex,” Marks read.

… Abby Rubenfeld, a Nashville attorney who wed under California’s same-sex marriage law, said she anticipates finding success in the courts.

“I think we have pretty decent courts, the law is really clear, the Supreme Court decision was very clear. Even (Justice) Scalia, in his dissent, said he felt it meant the end of all the state DOMAs.”

She said Tennessee couples find themselves in a variety of situations that must be addressed: those who legally married elsewhere who make their homes in Tennessee, those who married elsewhere but now need to divorce and can’t, and those who have never been married anywhere.

And from the Commercial Appeal:
Two same sex couples applied for marriage licenses at the Shelby County Clerk’s office Wednesday morning but were, as they anticipated, denied in accordance with the state’s constitutional ban on same sex marriage.

Organized by the Tennessee Equality Project, it was an act intended partly to raise awareness about the inability of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples to marry in their home state.

…But it was also a first step in possibly bringing legal action against the state.

“The first step is to be turned down,” said Aaron Thompson, who tried to apply for a marriage license with Chris Snow.

Campfield Bill: Don’t Teach Gay, Do Tell Parents

Sen. Stacey Campfield’s new version of legislation known as “don’t say gay” in past years allows counseling of students on homosexuality, but calls for notification of a youth’s parents when counseling occurs.
Campfield, R-Knoxville, has entitled the new bill, SB234, “Classroom Protection Act.” It generally prohibits in grades kindergarten through eight “classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction.”
Critics of similar past legislation have complained that teachers could be prohibited from answering questions or counseling troubled students if the topic involves homosexuality. The new bill explicitly excludes a teacher “answering in good faith” any questions related to the subject being taught and says school nurses, counselors, principals and assistant principals can counsel students.
But it also says, “Parents or legal guardians of students who receive such counseling shall be notified as soon as practicable that such counseling has occurred.” The provision has been widely criticized on several blogs as potentially creating situation that could discourage troubled students from seeking counseling when dealing with sexual abuse, bullying or even contemplation of suicide.
Campfield said, however, “it’s ridiculous to say we should shield parents from that information” about homosexual activity, which can be dangerous because of AIDs and sexually-transmitted disease.
“I think it’s important that, if they’re doing something that’s potentially dangerous or life-threatening, that you should get parents involved,” he said.
The Senate approved an earlier version of “don’t say gay” in 2011, but the bill later died in the House and never became law. Campfield said the new version is “completely different” and “gets rid of some of the old perceptions” about the legislation.

Illogic in Legislatorland? Or Just ‘Silly Sideshows’?

There is a virus spreading like dandelions caught on a breeze in the Legislative Plaza, according to Gail Kerr’s most recent column, and it’s called Illogithink.
Here are the basic building blocks of Illogithink 2011: Gays are bad. Guns are good. Businesses are all good. Limits on businesses are all bad. More government is bad. More government like Mr. and Ms. Elected Legislator wants it is all good. Local autonomy is sacred. Except when state government decides to big foot it. Whether it’s the General Assembly’s business. Or not.
Meanwhile, Pam Stickland focuses on Republican-backed”sideshows” dealing with homosexuality:
Insecure power grabbers are easily recognized by taking silly, unreasonable stands cloaked in false righteousness. My mama warned me about them years ago, and President Barack Obama reminded us all about them Wednesday.
I couldn’t have agreed more when Obama said Wednesday that “we do not have time for this kind of silliness.” The president was talking about the bat-wing crazies who insist, in spite of solid evidence to the contrary, that he is not a native-born American. I, however, am talking about our state legislators, who insist on treating the lesbian, gay and transgendered as less than equal when the state has serious budget problems and major education issues that need tending.

‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Clears Senate Commitee (slightly revised)

After some convoluted maneuvers, a Senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that will prohibit teachers from discussing homosexuality in kindergarten through 8th grade classrooms.
The measure, SB49, is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, who unsuccessfully pushed same idea – nicknamed the “don’t say gay” bill — for six years as a member of the state House before he was elected to the Senate.
As introduced, the bill would have put into state law a declaration that it is illegal to discuss any sexual behavior other than heterosexuality prior to the 9th grade.
But when it came before the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, contended that current law already effectively prohibits such instruction by deeming is a misdemeanor teaching of any sex education that is not part of the “family life curriculum” adopted by the state Board of Education.
Tracy proposed an amendment to rewrite Campfield’s bill to require the Board of Education to study the issue and determine whether any teaching about homosexuality is occurring and, if so, recommend what should be done about it.
Campfield contends homosexuality is being discussed in classrooms. Spokesmen for the Board of Education and the state Department of Education told the committee they are unaware of any such activity.

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Campfield Suggests $1,000 ‘Retainer’ for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Debate

Campfield has been criticized on some blogs this week for seeking a $1,000 “retainer” fee to debate the “don’t say gay” bill with Del Shores, a Texas-based movie producer and director who has made films on homosexuality.
(Michael Silence rounds up some of the blogging HERE.)
State law includes prohibitions on a legislator taking compensation for work related to legislatives duties except for his or her salary and expense payments due from the state. Another statute prohibits legislators from accepting an honorarium except for travel expenses.
Campfield said his request, which came in an exchange of messages with Shores, was simply to request a deposit to guarantee that his travel expenses would be paid.
“I’m not going to pay air fare to Texas and a hotel, then have the guy stiff me,” he said, adding the retainer request came when he understood the debate would be in Texas.
Drew Rawlins, executive director of the Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance, said he did not believe the ban on extra compensation for legislative duties would apply in this case because a debate in Texas is “probably not part of his legislative duties.”
Rawlins said there was a “potential violation” of the honorarium ban in the situation as he understood it, but that someone would have to file a formal complaint to trigger a formal investigation into that question. He declined to say whether a complaint had been filed, citing a provision of state law that says all complaints are to be kept confidential until the Tennessee Ethics Commission decides there is probable cause to believe a violation occurred.
Still another statute prohibits legislators from solicting or accepting campaign contributions during a legislative session. Rawlins said that wouldn’t apply since there’s no indication the proposed payment would have been a campaign contribution.